News & Views

Five Food Stories: Which One is an April Fool's Hoax?

About 40 years ago, on April Fool’s Day, I secretly dumped all the white sugar out of my mother’s sugar bowl and filled it with salt. When she poured her first cup of coffee that morning, and added her spoonful of “sugar,” she tasted, for the first time, her daughter’s love of practical jokes.

I wanted to play a joke on all of you today, too, to commemorate that one date every year when we are encouraged to lighten up and not take everything so seriously. But I don’t have legal access to your sugar bowls -- and even if I did, what are the chances that you, my fellow “eat-real-food” aficionados, would have them filled with white, processed sugar?

So my April Fool’s joke for you is a collection of five food-related stories that sound preposterous enough to be fake.

But only one is. The rest, believe it or not, are true -- to the best of my knowledge.

See if you can figure out which is which. And no cheating!

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Is Packing My Kids' Lunches a Privilege or a Pain in the Apple?

School lunches have come under some serious scrutiny as of late, and, it seems, not a moment too soon. As Americans try to find explanations for our growing obesity epidemic, the food available to children during the school day is being fingered as one of myriad culprits. I was horrified to read about the low cost, low quality, highly processed junk consistently fed to American children, day in and day out, under the National School Lunch Program. I was fired up and inspired after watching Jamie Oliver’s impassioned TED prize acceptance speech and call to arms to try to recapture our lost food culture by teaching children about cooking and eating good, fresh food.

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Two Views of School Lunches: Jamie Oliver's and Mine

Last Sunday evening I watched the sneak preview of the Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution. Oliver is a world-renowned chef from Essex, England, who was one of the first celebrity chefs of The Food Network. He's known for his emphasis on fresh, local foods and a casual, no-fear approach to cooking.

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School Lunch Contest: Eat Lunch With Your Kids, Send Us the Pictures, Win Prizes!

Last week's school lunch post, our "Open Letter to Our Children," was a direct response to the sixth graders at Minneapolis' Sanford Middle School who I'd met with the month before. Their question was simple and heartbreaking: if our communities love us, why do they knowingly feed us this junk?

The response to this post was fantastic. Many of you provided explanations, made suggestions, and shared your own views, and we at SGT were reminded once again of how much we love this community. For example, Laura wrote:

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An Open Letter to Our Children: We're Sorry About School Lunch

I recently had the chance to sit down with a handful of sixth graders at Sanford Middle School in Minneapolis. The students had been complaining that the lunches they were being served tasted bad and made them feel sick, and their teacher asked me to come answer questions, provide context, and make suggestions.

For an hour, these thoughtful students and I discussed healthy food choices, growing a garden, being pressed for time (a 12 year old girl told me she didn't have time to put an apple in her backpack in the morning), eating on a budget, and how to affect change. I've been thinking about the discussion ever since.

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Minnesota Foodshare Needs Your Help

It’s March. We're roasting the last of the butternut squash. We're down to the last few tomatoes we canned last summer. The frozen corn and blueberry supplies are dwindling. But our pantry shelves are not the only ones running low.

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Organic Milk Actually Becomes Organic

Lots of buzz at last week’s Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) conference surrounded a rather astonishing development in the organic world: the U.S. Department of Agriculture had finally done something, well, good.

After five years of debate, on February 17, the USDA had amended the standards for organic milk to reflect what most consumers thought “organic” meant in the first place. So now (or at least by June 2011, when the amended standards take effect for all suppliers) when people buy milk labeled “organic,” they’ll be getting what they paid for.

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Locavore's Dilemma: Can We Eat Local and Still Enjoy Global Food Traditions?

The benefits of eating local cannot be understated: fresher and more flavorful products, economic support for local small-scale farmers and producers, less harmful environmental impacts and better appreciation for the delicious bounty to be found closer to home. But for many food lovers, embracing this philosophy comes with a trade-off.

Call it the Locavore’s Dilemma – how can one reconcile an earnest desire to eat local with the enjoyment of certain foods whose best examples are imported from great distances? Must we resign ourselves to giving up authentic Italian prosciutto or France’s renowned fromages, in effect abstaining from some of Europe’s finest culinary traditions, in the name of conscientious consumption?

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Shocking News! Real Food is Good for My Health!

I'm sure I've never looked forward to a doctor visit. Maybe it's because I've never hit my ideal weight (or my doctors' ideal weight for me), so I expect a talking to each time I go. Maybe it's because I passed out one time when I gave blood in high school, and the idea of my doctor's office taking blood is too close to the idea of giving blood for comfort. More likely, I've never looked forward to going to the doctor because nobody looks forward to going to the doctor. What's to look forward to?

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How Important is Organic Certification? At Nature's Prime Organic, The Answer is "Very"

Nature’s Prime Organic (NPO) Foods, an online source for buying organic meats and natural seafood, functions a bit like the hippie buying clubs that were so popular in the ’70s and ’80s. Then and now, buying clubs harness the power of collective purchasing and make hard-to-source foods available to more people.

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